Learning by Doing: The Arizona Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Learning by Doing: The Arizona Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program Learning by Doing: The Arizona Inside Out Prison Exchange Program This class is powerful. Each Monday that we meet, I become more inspired and motivated to make a difference. Thats how ASU senior Natasha Kenar described her experience in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program at ASU. The course is offered out of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and combines ASU students and incarcerated individuals to learn together over a semester in a prison setting. The program is the first of its kind in the state of Arizona, and in the spring of 2016 we changed the lives of 11 incarcerated individuals and 10 ASU students like Natasha. These 21 students met once per week for 3 hours in the visitation room of a medium security prison in Florence, Arizona, where they engaged in transformative learning on topics of crime, justice, victimization, and other issues of social concern. But the impact wasnt limited to 21 individuals. The course culminated in three actionable projects designed by the students to improve our justice system: a reentry packet of resources to prepare ex-prisoners to successfully reintegrate back into society, a family reunification program to assist families who have been impacted by incarceration, and a victim intervention class that educates inmates on the effects of crime on victims. The students didnt learn from just books. They didnt learn from only lectures. They learned by doing. The Arizona Department of Corrections immediately and enthusiastically implemented all three projects into their programming. How often does that happen? We have 43,000 incarcerated individuals in Arizona in a correctional system that costs the state $1 billion per year. Over 95% of these individuals will return to our communities. Theyre parents to an estimated 53,000 children. We cannot continue to ignore the significant social and economic impact that mass incarceration has had on our state, and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program promises to address these issues directly through the efforts of our brilliant students. Natasha continued on to graduate school at ASU in large part due to her experience in the program. We want this incredible impacton our students, on our communitiesto continue. The grant from Women & Philanthropy would allow us to offer two more courses next year, which would directly impact the lives of 20 ASU students and 24 incarcerated individuals and indirectly impact the thousands of families that are affected by incarceration. It would allow us to create and implement projects with fidelity that can bring about change now. Most importantly, it would allow us to more definitively document the impact of the program, as we make efforts to develop the program on a larger scale to affect more and more people. This class has a therapeutic aspect embedded in it that teaches us to reconcile the past, learn about the present, and grow for the future. Thats how Khan, an incarcerated student, described his experience in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Please join us in supporting one of the most innovative and impactful initiatives at Arizona State University.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/1711/30/18

Funding

  • Women and Philanthropy: $70,621.00

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